HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Edguy - Hellfire Club
(Nuclear Blast)

Stupid name aside (I just heard an explanation of it - and it's even stupider than I thought), Edguy, over the past two or three years, have been heralded as the dragonslayer of power metal titans. And it's not hard to see why. The enthusiasm bristling from the boys - whether we're talking the vocals, the production, the percussion or even the pictures - is palpable, as if there's a knowing wink that Gamma Ray, Helloween and Stratovarius are toast. So down the road they skip, quick, powerful, playful with their words, a Teutonic optimism on high and on shiny display. This one's been set up nicely by the King Of Fools EP, and that hype, along with some solid and prominent touring planned for the next while, should make a lasting impression upon those who have missed or purposely ignored the vast catalogue to date.
Rating 7.5

UFO - Big Apple Encounters

A worthy UFO rarities pack for once, in sharp contrast with all the widely available live bootlegs falling about the place like Pete Way (too much). This thing captures the band live at The Record Plant, in other words, live (and loose) in a studio, circa September '75. The band chemistry is medium hot to hot, Phil is a firecracker, and the production is passable if a little boxy, blocky and hollow. All the UFO staples up until that point are here (and quite a few they are - all off of Phenomenon and Force It), but we also get relative rarities like blues ballad Space Child, shoving and pushing shotgun rocker Oh My, the Free blues of Willie Dixon's Built For Comfort plus shimmering Small Faces classic All Or Nothing. Highlight: Shoot Shoot, late in the sequence, leading into a groovy rendition of the band's heaviest metal maven 'Rock Bottom'.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 5